West Long Branch, N.J. –
The top-seeded Monmouth University women’s lacrosse team held on to defeat fourth-seeded Mount St. Mary’s, 12-9, Friday afternoon in the Northeast Conference Tournament Semifinals held at Kessler Field. The Hawks improve to 12-6 on the season with their 10th
-straight win and secured a spot in their second-consecutive NEC Title Game, while the Mountaineers end their season with a 7-11 record.
Monmouth shot out to a 8-2 lead at the first half, then piled on four more to run their advantage to 12-2 with 24:58 remaining in the half. The Mountaineers would not go quietly and started a furious comeback, outscoring Monmouth7-0 in the final 23 minutes of the game. In the end MU held on, with Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross Catholic Secondary) making key saves down the stretch to keep Monmouth’s hopes of back to back championship game appearances alive.
The Hawks were led offensively by the NEC Offensive Player of the Year Kaleigh Gibbons (Candia, N.H./Central) who tallied six points on three goals and three assists. Senior Cassie Campasano (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip [Jacksonville]) found the back of the net three times, while Karlee Dean (Medford Lakes, N.J./Shawnee) registered a pair of goals.
Monmouth captured the first four draw controls of the game which led to four straight goals. NEC Rookie of the Year Marial Pierce (Middleburg, Va. /St. John’s College H.S.) opened the scoring for MU, cutting across the middle and ripping a shot passed Mount’s keeper Sarah Jane Leder. Campasano received a feed from Gibbons who found the back of the net, before Gibbons and Dean connected for back-to-back goals to force Mount to use a timeout.
Following the break, Mount’s Lindsay Diaz converted a free position with 22 minutes remaining, but the Hawks answered with three straight. Gibbons notched two straight tallies, while Allison Stathius (Delran, N.J./Delran) landed on the scoresheet with a goal with two minutes remaining in the half.
Mount chipped into the Hawks’ lead with under a minute to play as Molly Morris’ shot got past MU’s goalkeeper Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross Catholic), but with 13 seconds left in the opening frame, Gibbons notched her sixth point of the half with her third goal to give the Blue and White an 8-2 advantage entering the break.
The Blue and White wasted no time extending its lead in the second half as Emily Barbieri (Parsippany, N.J./DePaul Catholic) found Campasano 35 seconds in to push Monmouth ahead, 9-2. Barbieri scored her first goal of the afternoon 1:10 into the second half, firing a shot from 10 yards out that rang off the right post and into the back of the cage. Campasano and Erica Abendschoen (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) both scored to cap off the Hawks’ four-goal run before Kaitlyn Larrimore sparked seven unanswered goals for the Mount to bring the score to 12-9.
Donohoe posted eight saves for the Blue and White, while Leder turned away nine Monmouth shots in the losing effort.
For the game, Monmouth edged the Mount in shots, 25-22, while the two teams each captured 13 groundballs. The Hawks earned 15 draw controls for the game, compared to the Mount’s eight, including a 10-1 advantage in the first half.
Monmouth will take on the winner of second-seeded Central Connecticut State and third-seeded Bryant for the Northeast Conference Championships and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Opening draw is slated for 1 p.m. on Kessler Field.